Last Teacher Day…

I really don’t like the last teacher day.  I’ve finished all grading, I really want to sleep in… AND my classroom feels empty.  So, summer begins and I will spend the next 70 days getting excited for the new group of students I get to know next year!

Students: Have safe and fun summers!  Make good life decisions!

Graduates: Shake up the world!  And come back to visit sometime!

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Finals…Finality – The End of the School Year Blues

A student just sent this to me via email.

I think we all want to be like Ferris and end up being like Cameron

I agree with the sentiment because I love John Hughes’ movies like most Americans…as a teenager I longed to be free like Ferris and even went to Chicago for senior skip day; who am I kidding, I still want to be like Ferris.  Upon graduating college I was terrified to being trapped within 4 walls of a classroom so I joined the Peace Corps.  Now I still get the restless urge to go go go…and yet I’m guilty of “doing life” like Cameron at times too.  This year more than ones in the past, I’ve really tried to get to as many after-school activities as possible.  I’ve coached golf, I’ve attended choir concerts, I’ve tutored, I’ve attended open houses, I’ve even jogged my way around a cross-country course.  All of that makes the finality of the school year all that harder to deal with.

As the end of the school year approaches, the finality of all the work I and the students have put into the school year hits hard.  I teach World History and we have covered nearly 12,000 years… but more so we’ve spent countless hours together developing a rapport.  The students want to embrace their inner-Ferris Bueller; this includes rolling their eyes when I ask them to do something in the last week of school and wanting to break free from the school building ASAP…  I, too, cannot wait for the freedom of summer vacation.  Contrary to popular opinion, I DO NOT sleep on a cot in my classroom.  However, having endeavored to “suck the marrow” (thank you Thoreau) out of life every single day, I’ve grown quite fond of the students in my classes.

They call me a nerd.  They tease me for my strong opinions on Christopher Columbus.  They make fun of how excited I get teaching certain world events… and I will miss it.

I’ve said my fair share of goodbyes.  Forever goodbyes (until we meet in heaven anyway) at funerals, long distance goodbyes leaving for college, leaving for Peace Corps, returning home from Peace Corps, and goodbye for nows… but goodbye to seniors as you watch them embark on this new season of their lives is a unique one.  I wish them the best.  I hope I served them well.

SHS AP World History

These students have stuck with me as I’ve stumbled my way through teaching AP World for the first time.

I feel appreciated…

“The best part of teaching is that it matters. The hardest part of teaching is that every moment matters, every day.” –Todd Whitaker

This week, I had a conversation with a colleague that has been considering leaving the profession.  To be honest, I’ve been struggling with their decision to pursue another career because they’re young and have so much potential to impact future generations….  I watched the National Teacher of the Year announcement last week (congrats to Sean McComb btw) and started thinking about teacher affirmation.  For every educator that wins an award, there are countless others dedicating their hearts and souls to their lesson plans and students.  Mr. McComb recognized his colleagues and former teachers just like a quarterback that wins an award can’t stop praising the work of his offensive line!

Awards and attention are all well and good, but what truly makes an educator feel valued?  Teachers have conversations about this all the time…I’ve discussed it walking down a sidewalk, in the teacher’s lounge,  at dinner with non-educators, etc.  What makes one feel valued…what makes a teacher feel appreciated?

As much as I’d love to be called a “nation-builder” like my South Korean counterparts or make a little more money… to those not in education I’d simply like to be seen as a professional.  Just because one has sat in a classroom for 12 years does not make that person an expert in education (I assume you’ve heard this debate before…).  I feel blessed to be working in my current school district.  Although I’ve had some ups and downs, I feel like the work I do is seen, acknowledged, and celebrated.  All of that makes me feel appreciated, but it’s really the student’s opinion that matters.

As our supt. says, Kids – First, Last, Always… I think you’ll find that most educators don’t want much recognition outside of seeing their students succeed.  Tis a noble profession I’ve chosen; I hope I’m worthy of the honor and responsibility.

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